Writers- Mrunmayee Lagoo, Waikul, Anubhav Sinha
Cast- Taapsee Pannu, Pavail Gulati, Kumud Mishra, Ratna Pathak Shah, Tanvi Azmi,Dia Mirza,Maya Sarao,Geetika Vidya Ohlyan, Ram Kapoor, Ankur Rathee, Naila Grewal
In a nutshell :
Thappad is a film that is as impactful as its name and the message that it wants to convey, about unfair gender entitlements in a marriage and patriarchal mind sets, is loud and clear.
Amrita (Taapsee) is a happy and chirpy woman, contented in her life as an efficient homemaker, a doting wife, a loving and caring daughter-in-law, loved daughter, a friendly neighbour and it seems her life is complete and perfect.
…Till the time she’s shaken out of that bliss by a slap from her husband under a bout of alcohol and argument (with someone else).
But that’s not what is worse. What’s worse is the complete apathy that she faces that moment onwards.
When she realises that it was “ just a momentary lapse” that she’s expected to let go of, that’s when she wakes up to where she stands in her apparently perfect and blissful life.There’s pain, shock, embarrassment and guilt that somewhere she was responsible to have let herself be in that place.
And the worst is yet to come.
When she wants some time to reconcile with her thoughts and turmoil, she’s served a legal notice.
The dynamics of how people around her react is hard hitting and overwhelming.
We eventually see that it was not just about a slap but so many other unsaid things and issues like being taken for granted, lack of respect and being on the fringes in her own marital relationship. The rest of the story tells us how she remains true to herself, her ethics, her responsibilities, without compromising on her self-respect and most important of all, how she makes others and us realise that it is not about “ just a slap” !
Kudos to the writer MRUNMAYEE LAGOO , who along with director ANUBHAV SINHA, has written the screenplay and dialogues.
Though the performances are equally dynamic, but I would still call it the writer, director’s film for its not just the intent that matters but also how its executed. And they have done marvellous job.
The song “ ek tukda dhoop “ composed by Anurag Saikia and written by Shakeel Azmi is melodious and meaningful.
TAAPSEE delivers another powerful performance. Whether the chirpy ,loving Amrita, or her shock, turmoil, realisation or resolve , she’s superb .
PAVAIL GULATI is good as Vikram, a self-absorbed husband and a madly ambitious man. It was a complex role performed well.
KUMUD MISHRA steals the show as Amrita’s doting father. Loved him to bits as the quiet, restrained and sorted man.
MARIA SARAO was great as Nethra, a high profile lawyer but someone trying to find her footing in her own marriage to high profile journalist ( MANAV KAUL ) in a short but great greyish role.
GEETIKA VIDYA steals your heart as her maid, an abused wife yet happy go lucky person, a compassionate woman and an ethical human being.
There’s a virtual army of actors to praise here.
TANVI AZMI as her MIL , RATNA PATHAK Shah as her mother, NAILA GREWAL as her brother’s fiance ,DIA MIRZA as her neighbour , single mother, successful professional , and a sorted and compassionate woman.
It’s this entire gang that brought to life Amrita’s story and brought us to tears drawing leaves out of every woman’s life out there.
The film maintains a pace of its own especially in the first half. But there’s something that they are trying to create for you to feel. The blissful monotony of the repetitive schedules of a home maker, the happiness that she achieves from relationships around her, the ambitions and aspirations that she tries to balance or sometimes let go, her craving for being acknowledged for what she is, respect and equal footing that she thinks is as important as the love she gets. It’s all these in-depth emotions that have been conveyed by some wonderfully written dialogues and amazingly portrayed by the actors.
And they managed to make it not just Amrita’s story but of so many women across class and age divides. Every woman character in the film conveys something to you. For that matter every male character too. Every relationship shown had something to convey, whether flawed or apparently perfect ones.
I think the film conveys something with its every frame.
Its full of teary eyed moments , not sad but extremely overwhelming ones. Carry loads of tissues.
The beauty of the film is in conveying a very complex issue.
It’s not just about a slap. It’s not also just about Amrita or just about a home maker. It’s also not about abusive men. The patriarchal mindsets and gender inequality in relationships could be found across loving families , caring husbands, working women, homemakers, rich or poor, educated or uneducated.
“Being loved , protected or provided for should be more than enough for a woman. If there is no violence, if there is no extra marital relationship and everything is hunky dory , then a woman “ should “ have no reason to complain. After all she is “ loved” and she “ belongs” !! “
What this patriarchal society refuses to understand is that “ respect, appreciation ,acknowledgement, equal footing, not being taken for granted are not frivolous issues and is not asking for too much.
The film is highly recommended. It’s like a mirror to the society. It says a lot and conveys a lot through unsaid things. And you do not need to be a woman to understand it. You just need a compassionate heart and ability to see the other perspective without getting defensive.
Score 8 on 10